• Robert Barca
Both China and the US are retentionist countries, however the scope of their death penalty is different – China is a world’s leading executioner while the US embraces the retention in a very limited way. On top of providing a historical context of the institution of death penalty, the aim of this paper is to gauge the impact of two factors on domestic decision-making, that is the international community which pushes for global abolition, and public opinion which is overwhelmingly pro-retentionist in both countries. To conduct the analysis a combined theoretical approach of strategic narrative concept and political legitimacy theory is applied. A three-stage comparative analysis examines first the instruments of international United Nations framework, second the public sentiment as measured by public opinion polls and empirical studies in the two countries, and third, the synthesis of the two aspects with respect to domestic political decision-making on the matter of death penalty is made. The key finding of this thesis is that China and United States, despite having very different character of their political systems, both oppose the global push for abolition and instead, in an effort not to undermine their political legitimacy, retain the capital punishment to cater to public opinion which is overwhelmingly pro-retentionist, all the while setting up procedural safeguards in which heeds the public call for social accountability as well.
SpecialisationChina and International Relations
Publication date15 May 2019
Number of pages66
ID: 303632288